If you are considering filing for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits, then you might be wondering what, exactly, qualifies someone to be considered disabled? In a nutshell, the SSA states that a person might be considered disabled when they are suffering from a condition that keeps them from being able to be engaged in what is known as “Substantial Gainful Activity.” While it seems to be a simple answer, it is an answer that requires a bit of clarification to fully understand.
What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?
The first and most important piece of a disability determination is whether or not you are able to work. SGA is the threshold of income determined by the SSA; if you are currently able to work and earn more than this amount then you are considered to be earning enough that you do not need SSD benefits in the first place. Currently, the SGA amount is set at $1,170 for an individual (or $1,950 for someone who is blind). If you are able to make this amount per month, then your application is pretty much going to be denied.
If, however, your condition means that earning this amount of money is a daily struggle, then you will need to be able to prove that your inability to work is caused by some sort of condition or impairment. There are two ways to do this:
– The first way is by proving, through the use of medical documentation, that you have one of the many different medical conditions listed and described in the SSA’s Blue Book. This document is a comprehensive, detailed list of many different types of medical ailments, including diseases, injuries and mental impairments. If your condition is listed in the Blue Book, and you meet the requirements, then you will be considered disabled, and able to collect social security disability.
– If your condition is not in the Blue Book, however, your case is not lost. This is because the SSA recognizes that other conditions can also be severe enough that they interfere with your ability to work. Since there isn’t a specific criteria or condition to follow, though, the burden of proof rests on you. You need to provide medical documentation that describes your disability, and (more importantly) how it impacts your life and ability to work. If you can prove that your condition makes it impossible to meet the SGA threshold, than you may still qualify for SSD benefits.
If this seems daunting, it is. It’s not impossible, though. To help build your case and get your closer to collecting the benefits you need, please contact us today.